What comes after 7? 8, of course.
Earlier this month, superstar quarterback Michael Vick visited Atlanta Falcons training camp and had a full circle moment.
Vick defined an era for the franchise in the early 2000s with his electrifying acting and unmistakable swagger. His return to football with the Philadelphia Eagles after serving time in prison for his role in a dogfight introduced him to a new fanbase.
Despite Vick’s egregious actions, which caused many to lose faith in him, fans of all ages flocked to support him on his return, including current Falcons star tight end Kyle Pitts. The former Florida star grew up in the Philadelphia area and attended one of four Pro Bowler youth camps where Vick signed his jersey.
Years later, when Vick showed up at Falcons camp, Pitts returned the favor and presented the quarterback with a signed jersey. The team posted photos of the transfer and their first meeting to create a passing moment.
Vick suffered one of the biggest downfalls in recent sports history when he pleaded guilty to dogfighting charges in 2007 and missed two NFL seasons while serving time in prison. He returned to play seven seasons and became an example of how to turn his life around.
He is aware of how many players have looked up to him in the same way he was inspired by Detroit Lions Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders. He takes on the role of mentor and uses his twist story to teach young people important life lessons. This work is all the more important as university athletes have the opportunity to enter name, image and likeness offers.
In June, he joined Levels Sports Group, a Los Angeles-based athlete management company, as Partner and Athlete Development Manager.
“A lot of young kids are looking for direction and will become great football players,” Vick told the Falcons team website. “But I don’t want them to be just exceptional on the pitch, I want them to be exceptional off the game. In the NIL space and being able to make money early, we can teach them more of responsibilities.”